On January 10, 49BC Julius Caesar then a Roman general, uttered these now very famous words, “Alea iacta est”, Latin for “The die has been cast”, as he led his army across the River Rubicon in Northern Italy. As later events would show and aptly captured by a historian; “the crossing of a small stream in northern Italy became one of ancient history’s most pivotal events. From it sprang the Roman Empire and the genesis of modern European culture.”
History is replete with events of pivotal significance in the life of nation states. Some of these events when they occurred seem benign, even taken for granted. I bet Julius Caesar and his men or indeed the rest of the world’s population in 49BC never thought that crossing a “small stream” would have such a profound effect on the rest of humanity as it turned out. Other events though right from the get go are grand and happen right before everyone. Take France for instance; when Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte after his return from exile in 1815 took on the Seventh Coalition in the Battle of Waterloo, it was a foolhardy venture but many French citizens believing in his invincibility underestimated the resolve of the Coalition. Today when foolhardy ventures fail, as they should, they are said to have met their waterloo. Adolf Hitler took the acquiescence of Neville Chamberlain and his Appeasement Policy as a metaphor for the rest of Europe and fueled by his supremacist ideals took on the rest of the world when on a clear summer’s day, 1st of September 1939, he attacked Poland. This audacious act was the final straw of several other events that culminated to the Second World War with the Holocaust as a side kick, but in his delusion he led siege on Stalingrad. That was his death knell. Saddam Hussien a former US ally, made the grand mistake of annexing Kuwait when he had an option of a peaceful resolution of his perceived wrong by Kuwait. His grandiloquence cost the middle-east dearly and many Iraq lives continue to perish to this day.
The above historical accounts all show how one person, cheered on by apologists, acquiescency or cowardice, have led countries to avoidable wars that not only changed the course of history but have caused the loss of human lives; about 60million in the case of Adolf Hilter! Today we are witnesses to a drama playing out in Nigeria; on the night of 14th April, 2014 (recall that same day a bomb planted by Boko Haram- the shadowy group waging war against Nigeria- exploded killing close to a hundred Nigerians) Boko Haram men raided the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, a remote village in Bornu State, and abducted a yet to be confirmed number (but well over 200) of school girls.
That after 21 days, the Nigerian authorities are yet to locate (as confirmed by the Nigerian President in his chat with the media on the 3rd of May 2014) not to talk of rescuing these girls is a clear message to every conscionable Nigerian that indeed the die is cast! Abubakar Shekau the cowardly leader of Boko Haram- who superintends over the slaughter of harmless boys in their sleep and the shameless abduction of teenage girls-has declared war on Nigeria and all that it stands for, and by all intends and purposes he is winning!
What is our reaction? Are we just motley of apologists, acquiescents and cowards? Like the trajectory of history shows, we always pay dearly for our actions and inactions. When a group of bandits under whatever guise hold a country to ransom and make a mockery of its military then the stage is set for anarchy. In Nigeria today, Boko Haram holds sway in the North-East (you can’t even mention their name on air there), “Fulani-herdsmen” occupy North Central Nigeria, tomorrow some other group, emboldened by the inertness, of the leadership will “conquer” any or all of the South- East, West or South. When that happens we will be on the road to Somalia, CAR or Darfur with much more fatal consequences for the rest of humanity than all the conflicts in Africa put together.
Today therefore, we as a nation stand on the threshold of history; that, we have a president who says journalists know more about the security situation in the country than he does, doesn’t matter; it doesn’t matter too that the military misinforms the citizens about sensitive issues, or that some of its officers make money from our collective misery while helplessly looking on as people are killed; it also doesn’t matter, that our elders only trade blames when they should call their wards to order; it certainly doesn’t matter that our leaders only cast aspersions on one another when practical action is required! What matters is what as ordinary people, especially the youth, pushed to the wall, raped, choked, strangled and murdered, elect to do! If we elect to be apologists, the consequences are clear. If we elect to acquiescence the outcome is never in doubt and if we decide to be cowards then Nigeria as we know it will cease to be! Years from now on it will be said that the swansong of Nigeria started in a small village called Chibok!
But I believe, deep down in me, that there are people in Nigeria who this very moment are rising up from the ashes of this rape, this strangulation, these murders, to fight back. Because at Chibok Boko Haram has come to Waterloo, at Chibok they have laid siege on Stalingrad, and at Chibok they have annexed Kuwait! At Chibok a new Nigeria will spring from the manacles of all the ignoble that has tied us down! Let’s come together, let’s jettison all that divides us, let’s leave our comfort zones, let’s cross the Rubicon “to where the omens of the gods and the crimes of our enemies summon us! Nigeria; THE DIE IS NOW CAST!’”
Follow Chris Tion on twitter @xristion
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